Front-line Covid-19 Coaching

Published in © 05/01/2020

A virus spreads.  A pandemic declared.  States of emergencies enacted, and people maintain a strict six-feet distance away from each other.  Welcome to our current world during Covid-19.  The economy has screeched to a halt, and millions of people live in isolation.  Aside from the toilet paper and isolation mask industry, most employers are cutting back or eliminating jobs.  As a life coach and speaker, I felt the whiplash of the sudden stop of business as well.  Internal questions arose.  If this pandemic lasts for months, how do I keep my skills up?  What if the economy tanks, and my business remains slow?  How much does money play in my coaching business?

However, I was still a part-time healthcare worker.  I could potentially work more during this situation so I would have some revenue stream.  God had provided answers to some of my concerns, but little did I know God had other plans.

The Urge To Front-line Serve

In the wake of the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, men in droves volunteered to serve their country on the cusp of war.  Most were accepted, but some were classified as 4-F.(1)  Some who couldn’t serve even had ideations of suicide.  Why such an extreme reaction?  The answer:  Men had an overwhelming sense of duty to serve.

I have never had the honor of serving in the military, but I did have over twenty years of experience as a clinician, most of which is critical care.  I felt a similar urging.  Covid-19 was a worldwide crisis, and if the supply of staff was short, I wanted to help.  Coaching and speaking would have to be put on hold for now.  Extreme circumstances required a refocus of priorities.  So I gladly volunteered to return to work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  But ironically, most hospitals, including my own, were not overwhelmed.  They had made the appropriate preparations. 

Moreover, unlike the reports on social media, people weren’t panicked.  Clinicians worked their shift as they usually would (albeit with added precautions).  The difference, however, was the chatter.

Everybody Has a Point

In between patient care, staff members make small talk.  They discuss their family, traveling, everything you would expect.  Now, the discussion often revolved around the pandemic.  And everyone had an opinion.  These opinions usually fell into three categories.  Below is a representation of the most common views I’ve heard so far.

The Three Covid-19 Extremes

Skeptic Sam

“Why is there so much hysteria surrounding this virus?  Every year, over 30,000 people die of the flu.  During the 2017-2018 flu season, 80,000 people died in the U.S.  Many hospitals were overrun, and some had surge tents.  Why don’t they report that?  And are we supposed to believe this came from bats in China?  This is bio-weaponry at its best.  I think the government is using this “crisis” to undermine our freedoms and manipulate us.”

Hysterical Helen

“This is what the futurists said would happen.  It’s here, a global killer of biblical proportions.  Haven’t you guys seen the films?  This is no joke.  If you get it, you’ll probably die.  I shouldn’t be working in the hospital.  They don’t pay me enough for this.  If this is the end, then I want to go out doing something I like, not watching people suffer.”

Indifferent Ian

“I think you both are out of your mind.  So what if it’s a global killer.  What if it is a government conspiracy.  You can’t do anything about it anyway.  We all have to die sometime.  Life is just a wave, try and ride it.”

My priority was on caring for the sick, but God added more to my plate.  He had placed these people in my path for a reason.  What would I do with this opportunity?  Was there anything I could do?  Yes, I could coach.

The Front-line Coaching Opportunity

There is some truth in all of their opinions, and each had a right to be heard.  Therefore, I seized an opportunity to ask simple coaching questions to foster conversations. 

  • “Sam, what makes you think this is a government conspiracy?”
  • “Helen, where else should you be?”
  • “Ian, what does riding the life wave look like for you?”  

It turned out “Sam” needed to vent his frustrations.  “Helen” found comfort in speaking her mind, and “Ian” realized he needed to reevaluate his worldview.  I wasn’t trying to solve their problems or give them advice but merely to serve as their guide and listen.  I tried to help them get from where they were to where they wanted to be.  And, if the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to get them from where they were to where God wanted them to be.


Like most people, the pandemic brought doubts and concerns about many things.  God had answered prayer about my revenue concern, but He also responded to prayers about practicing my coaching skills.  Coaching doesn’t have to be relegated only to formal clients.  We can use the principles in a myriad of circumstances if we take advantage of the opportunities given us.  During this pandemic, many coaches, including myself, have lost clients and have watched their prospective client list dwindle.  These situations can be frustrating, but these situations are a ripe time to sow seeds, foster community, and build relationships.

Coaches understand that people desperately want others to listen to them.  So if you’re a coach and the opportunity arises, love your neighbor by coaching them through the crisis.  Ask questions, listen to them, and allow God to work in their hearts…even if you are at least six feet away.


  1.  “4-F” is a classification given to a military registrant stating they were not fit for service in the Armed Forces.  The term originated during the Civil War and was used to disqualify recruits who did not have four front teeth, which were necessary to tear open gunpowder packages.

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